The 12 Books of Christmas 

A pair from Stephen Vogler


The snow shovels and boots have been unearthed from the garage, staff parties are being booked, and yes, those are Christmas decorations on display at each and every big box store. Believe it or not, the holiday season is already upon us (or at the very least, bearing down like a freight train). This year, rather than revert to the standard, safe go-to gift certificates for folks on your shopping list, we recommend buying a book. Yes, that's right, remember those relics? They can make for a very thoughtful, and relatively inexpensive, gift for just about anyone. This year, we've compiled a list of 12 recent literary releases from local writers that will entertain and intrigue kids, adventurers, aspiring chefs, sports enthusiasts and amateur historians. Happy reading!


Only In Whistler: Tales of a Mountain Town

By Stephen Vogler, 240pp, Harbour Publishing

Review by G.D. Maxwell

You don't meet a lot of adults who grew up in Whistler. There are two reasons for this. First, the town mostly didn't exist until the late 1960s. Closer to the truth though is the fact Whistler is the kind of town you don't really have to grow up in at all. Kind of Neverland of the North.

And while he's taken on most - but by no means all - of the responsibilities of adulthood, local writer, musician, soapbox-stumper, husband, father and, well, let's be honest, faux grownup, Stephen Vogler has penned a marvelously sepia-tinged, nostalgic memoir of what it was like to age in lockstep with this town.

Like most of the best things in life, the Vogler family's move to Whistler was accidental. The family were weekend warriors for a number of years in the early 1970s, driving the highway - a highway in name only - from their home in Richmond. An unplanned cliff-drop in a 1969 Olds Cutlass on one of their commutes led to the decision to relocate. With an opening for a caretaker at Tyrol Lodge, they packed up and joined the other 500 residents of the nascent ski resort.

For a 12-year-old boy, moving to Whistler in 1976 was as close to heaven as anyone still breathing is likely to get. Except for one tiny detail: the winter of '76 was the year the snow didn't come.

With shinny on the lake replacing sliding down the mountain, it was an opportune time for bonding with the town's colourful characters - a mix of transplanted Europeans and hippie-jock ski bums - and exploring the myriad potential mischief. Stephen embraced both with gusto.

Spanning the three decades from that snowless winter to the blowout party and ultimate destruction of the Boot, Only in Whistler tells some of the town's most well-known - and most inaccurately remembered - stories with more touchpoints of reality than most of us have ever heard.

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